As it turns out, Bend proved to be a successful cross-racing weekend!
Cyclocross is as much about the course conditions and weather as it is about fitness and technical racing skills. Somehow, by earning it, I ended up with a great starting position in the front row and I knew that this was what could be a rare opportunity that I better not mess up! So, I pushed it hard on the opening straight away and ended up second around the first corner. Knowing the girl in front of me was going to take the line I wanted, I played it safe and tucked behind her. Once I had a clear shot, I took it and never looked back! Once I was in front, I certainly had my work cut out for me! As someone told me later, winning a cross race is NOT a magic carpet ride and I could not agree more! Being the me that I am, there was no way I was going to let someone pass me, after all, I had worked pretty darn hard to get where I was. Lucky for me, I also had Ryan cheering for me and reminding me that I needed to keep pushing...woof!
One of the challenges of racing is that when you are getting really tired, moving obstacles are thrown at you...the slower riders. Instead of having a straight shot up the hill, it became congested with teetering riders and slower moving hikers. Don't get me wrong, there are benefits to this as well, especially since I spend my "off-season" racing triathlons. My best results are cross races with a lot of running, go figure!
By the last couple of laps, I found myself in a fun rhythm, going back and forth with a couple of the Masters A racers. I say fun rhythm, because that's what I kept telling myself, trying to keep my mind off the fact that both of my quads were a solidified mass of cramping muscle. The other racers gave me the motivation I needed to keep pushing and not lose my place. Yay! Cross win #2.
It's all fun and games, until you are forced to upgrade to Cat A. These girls are seriously tough!
Since there were only 2 races left in the season, I decided to take it easy on myself and just feel out the field, afterall, I wasn't even sure I could race for 60 minutes! Yes, not only are they tough and scary, the race is also 15 minutes longer :(
The first race I felt absolutely terrible. It was my favorite course last year, but I could not get into it. Maybe it's just a racing hangover from Bend? Of course, I was disappointed when I crossed the finish line because i knew i hadn't given it my all, but I was please to have finished 13th among the top female cross racers in the nation. For the last race of the season, we actually got some rain! Just enough wetness to keep things interesting. It's funny that most of the race I was absolutely miserable, but as the end drew near, I was sad that it was all ending!
All in all, it was a fun season, I enjoyed all the ups and downs and look forward to next cross season.
For now a little relaxation away from racing so I can prepare my A game for next year!